THE POWER OF ONE IN THE EMOTIONAL NEW MAZDA! Japanese Philosophy of Kizuna at Heart of Family Model's Transformation

Article excerpt

Byline: By Chris Russon

FIRST DRIVE Mazda6

THE number's six but Mazda wants drivers to feel at one with its new family car.

It's all about a new philosophy called kizuna which Mazda is introducing as it rolls out its latest Zoom Zoom machine.

The new Mazda6 is the Japanese car maker's answer to the Ford Mondeo and replaces the car which established Mazda as a credible force in the family and fleet market.

On sale in January the new Mazda6 will be priced from around pounds 15,000 to pounds 20,000 - and that's just a few hundred pounds more than the current car.

It is styled to impress and comes with plenty of features as standard including air conditioning, traction and stability controls and - for the first time in a Mazda - active head restraints to minimise the risk of whiplash injury.

A new 2.5-litre petrol engine is also making its debut in a line up which will include saloon, hatch and estate versions.

The latter two body shapes will go on sale in March.

Two-litre and 1.8 petrol engines are also available as is a two-litre diesel with emissions reduced to 149g/km.

For the average business driver that represents a tax saving of around pounds 25 a month and takes the new 6 into the bottom but one car tax bracket for private buyers.

Across the range emissions are good with even the 2.5 coming in below 200g/km at 192 with average fuel economy of 34.4mpg.

The 1.8 will average 40.3 and the two-litre petrol 39.2 with respective CO2 figures of 165 and 171g/km while the diesel is claimed to be capable of a respectable 50.4mpg overall.

Those environmentally-friendly improvements have been achieved by reducing weight with the use of ultra high-tensile steel in the body, improved aerodynamics - it's slippier than a BMW 3 Series - and cutting down electrical consumption and rolling resistance.

The front is set off with bold bulges above the wheel arches akin to those which give Mazda's rotary engined RX-8 such a road presence.

Further good looks come from the angular headlamps, apparently inspired by designer sun glasses, and all three body shapes are sensibly proportioned.

There's more room inside especially in the back and boot space is a minimum of 500 litres, which is above average.

With Mazda's rapid release karakuri fold down rear seats extra luggage space is available at the pull of a lever making it highly user-friendly. …